Monday, March 26, 2012

Pattern adaptations to make Snow White's Bodice

So hopefully you've mastered the stitch and are ready to tackle the pattern. A few alterations will allow you to make a little girl's dress that will give the feeling of the one in the movie.

The original has an off-the-shoulder neckline which isn't really suitable for a little girl so if we make a wider "Bateau" neckline you can still get the effect.

I am using the "Princess" dress pattern from my Doll
Clothes Collection. It has a template for a full length bodice with a jewel neckline and puff sleeves.
The cutting edge of neckline in the pattern is the actual neckline edge as it was meant to be bound with bias so you don't have to remove any Seam Allowances in this area.
You will, however, want to add Seam Allowance to the waistline of this template.

With your pattern you will want to mark in the finished neckline to make the changes.

I am working with half a pattern front at the moment.
So, draw a new neckline a bit lower and wider than  the original.

Now you can determine the Princess Seam.
Find a point on the waistline that will not be too wide (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the front waist) and then mark  a point on the new neckline that will give you a pleasing angle. With a pencil and ruler join these two points. Next mark a new grain line on the side bodice piece.
To do this measure from CF to a point on the side bodice near the top and near the bottom. Join these two points and add the arrows that indicate this is a grain line.
To the right you can see the new lines drawn in green.

Now you can trace off the two parts on separate pieces of paper and add the Seam Allowances to the appropriate
edges. Again you can see the new lines have been drawn in green. You might write the names of the pattern pieces, the size and "Snow White Dress" for future reference.

The CF or fold line of  my pattern piece is on the straight grain and will be marked when it becomes a full width pattern piece.   

So there you have the front bodice alterations basically done.
Now you need to make the back neckline match!

Trace off the back bodice pattern as you did the front.

Go back to your first page of changes and fold the shoulder seam allowance to the wrong side so you can match up the shoulder seams as if you were going to sew them.

Draw in a new neckline so that it blends gently with the front neckline. I chose to keep the centre back neck at the same point as the original (it is a doll after all) but you might want to lower the pattern a wee bit for a child.

I also noticed that the shoulder/sleeve join is rather pointy (How did I miss that way back in 1998?) so I took the opportunity to softened it a bit and becomes a smooth curve.

Next step is to add seam allowances to the new back neckline and the new armhole seam in the shoulder area.

Below you can see the pieces that were created.
All that is left to do is create the centre panel full width.

The easiest way to finish the neckline would be to clean line the whole bodice. This eliminates the need to finish the seam allowances and avoids little fingers getting caught in any of the carrying threads of the smocking on the inside of the bodice.

To test the fit and accuracy of the neckline and  Princess seams, make a muslin of your new pattern to try on the child. Draw any changes right on the fabric and then transfer them to your paper pattern. 
Piping the neckline would be a nice additional detail and of course you want to add a pretty lace edge.

Last but not least, the sleeves of Snow White's gown feature "cartridge" pleating. This is type of pleating that is seldom seem in clothing today. If your pattern has nice full puff sleeves you could get the effect of the cartridge pleats simply by creating box pleats.

So there you have it. And here is my challenge, send in your photos for posting if you dare to give it a try!

Till next time, keep stitching......


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Smocking hits the Silver Screen

While flipping through a copy of one of the movie preview magazines from the theatre, I spotted and ad for the movie starring Julia Roberts, “Mirror Mirror”. It is rated PG and is a  comedy/fantasy due to be released March 30, 2012.

 I did a double take as the whole centre panel of Snow White’s bodice is smocked with one of the oldest smocking stitches, the Honeycomb Stitch. The princess-seamed gown has an off the shoulder neckline, Basque waistline and a white collar looks like a three-tired crocheted edge.

Knowing how little girls love to dress like their favourite movie characters, made me think how easily one could reproduce this gown with big puff sleeves, a modified neckline, regular waistline and lovely full skirt.
You don’t even need a pleater to smock the fabric.         
Use a fading marker, draw a grid on the right 
side of the fabric. On a piece of scarp fabric test          
the size of grid you think would work. ½” or ¾” will 
make the job go fast but might be a bit larger than 
you want so do test. 
Do be careful to be accurate and remember that the grid will disappear in about 24 to 48 hours.

Here is how to do the stitch:
Come up on the LHS of the intersection of the grid.                                     
Move to the right of the next interaction of the grid.

Pick up a stitch the width of the vertical line.


Move back to the first intersection and pick up a stitch from right to left the width of that vertical line.
Draw the two stitches together. 

Put the needle back into the fabric on the RHS of the second intersection and slide it down to the intersection right below.
Come out on the LHS of this intersection. 

Do not pull this vertical stitch up.

Only pull up the horizontal stitches

Repeat the stitch at this level.   


Insert your needle on the RHS of this lower stitch and come out on the LHS of the upper intersection. Repeat the stitch.

When you have completed one row, knot off on the wrong side and start again.

Beginning on the third line of your grid, make a stitch.

Insert the needle as before and travel down to make 
the next stitch.
 Then travel up again in the same fashion as the first row of stitching.

 Here are the knots on the back and how the stitches look on the front of the fabric.

 This is the perfect project to try working with Pearle cotton. It is a non-divisible fibre so there is no stripping of floss and it is so easy with which to work. If you get really creative and ambitious, you could even try beading this stitch! 

Why not give it a try?
So do keep stitching.....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The rest of the story....

Continuing on with our adventures during February, we made a wonderful trip to Savannah GA. We took a day  and drove straight through from Myrtle Beach to Savannah making a couple of short stops along the way. It was a really interesting drive and if ever I have the chance to visit the south again we will definitely make time to explore Charleston. 

Our accommodations at the Oglethorpe Inn & Suites were lovely. 
We later learned that the hotel takes its name from the man who
 founded Savannah, General James Oglethorpe, back in 1733! 
We booked a tour of historic Savannah which included the
Victorian section as well. What a wealth of history the city has 
to offer as we were soon overwhelmed. The wrought iron work 
on the homes and building impressed me so much. If we ever 
get to return I will make an effort to photograph as much of it
 as possible. 

                                                                      Unfortunately the weather was cold and wet the day of the tour and we couldn't get photos through the plastic panels of  the trolley. Here is one of the horse-drawn carriages that would have been lovely in the summer.

That night we dined at the Boar's Head Grill & Tavern                                                   
down on the river front. Bob was so taken by the name 
that he insisted that we give it a try. I was more                              
interested in going to the restaurant where legend has it 
a pirate died in one of the upstairs rooms. He won and 
the decor did not let us down! The restaurant was in 
what was once one of the cotton warehouses 
constructed in 1780. So much history, lots of old brick 
and exposed beams; it was delightful as was the food. It was here that I tasted 'Chocolate Bread Pudding'.

Below is a view from the river's edge of one of these 
warehouse buildings. Note the wrought iron balconies so typical of Savannah.

The next day I met with a guild member for lunch and before I knew it, it was time to prepare for the trunk show I was giving for the ladies of the Waving Girls Chapter of SAGA. they received me warmly and I hope to see many of them in Atlanta in Oct. They are a wonderful, hardworking group of ladies who continuously make garments for the Wee Care Program along with many other work for charity.     

Our time in Savannah was so short and there was so much to see. I simply can not wait to go back once again. But holidays always have to come to an end eventually and now we are back home once again.

It is so wonderful to hear the birds singing even before the sun rises in the mornings. The sun is shining today and the air is so much like spring, it simply can not be far off! 

So, keep stitching........